Ukraine has been in a situation of a full-scale war for almost two years, with agricultural land mined, many farmers are on the front line, and others facing problems selling their products. In such circumstances, the government plans to launch the next stage of land reform by increasing the limits on the sale of land to one person to 10,000 hectares from January 1, 2024. Market participants argue that this puts small and medium-sized businesses on an unequal footing with large agricultural companies.
Ihor Hai, a farmer and a member of the board of the UAC in Khmelnytsk region, emphasizes:
"Selling 10,000 hectares to one owner is a lot. When the law on the land market was introduced and was supposed to be implemented in two stages, small and medium-sized agricultural businesses were not happy, but hoped for an improvement in the situation. We did not know then that there would be a full-scale war. When land sales are introduced during martial law, it is clear that either corrupt officials or large agricultural holdings can buy it. The average farmer has been suffering for almost two years and has been incurring losses. For business, the main thing is to sell products. We cannot sell grain normally because the ports are under fire and Poland is blocking the borders. As a result, a large amount of agricultural raw materials is concentrated inside the country, which does not contribute to fair prices, they are lower than the world ones."
Military farmers and producers from the occupied territories are in even worse conditions and cannot participate in the land market.
"Some farmers are on the front line; they pay for land with their blood. In addition, 5 regions of Ukraine are occupied, and this puts farmers in an unequal position, they cannot buy anything. To sell 10,000 hectares of land to one owner now is to form a monopoly in the market and make a huge harm to small and medium-sized businesses. What was the purpose of the land reform? To enable land share owners to exercise their rights, and this has already been done.
We want to reach out to the President's Office, as it is his right to postpone the law for two years after the end of martial law. I urge everyone to sign the petition. Financial opportunities for agribusiness are not the same as they were before the war," added the farmer.Thursday, 16 November 2023